Live in upper midwest - snow is coming - how to manage chicken run - advice needed please

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sherrysusan, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. sherrysusan

    sherrysusan Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2014
    Hello Everybody,

    So I had the sweetest 8 x 10 coop built this summer w/ a nice long run (guessing 15 ft), it took the girls a while to adjust and start laying eggs again, but all is well now . . . but w/ winter approaching, we get lots of snow here in Wisc & I need advice on how to handle their run . . . a friend mentioned that I should cover it so they have access to get out every day. Do you do this, and if so, what do you use, like a canvas or plastic? I only have 7 chickens (1 died just the other day, not sure what happened, she was acting funny one night, so I hand fed her & the next morning, she was gone . . . I felt bad; they are all so tame & friendly)

    Also I have a light that comes on at dusk and stays on four hours, then shuts off. They also have a radio that plays 24/7 (not loud). I do have my hot water plate plugged in as it's getting cold here. Any other recommendations? The run is my main concern though

    Thank you kindly for any advice :)
     
  2. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    You could put clear plastic or a tarp against the sides that would receive the most wind to keep snow from blowing on them. If you cover the run, you need to make sure snow can slide off of it so it does not get really heavy and fall onto the chickens. Put straw, leaves, grass clippings, and other carbon based materials that are fun to scratch in inside the run and make a deep litter out of it. They will enjoy having stuff to dig around in with bad weather.
     
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  3. sherrysusan

    sherrysusan Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2014
    thank you for sharing your thoughts. Will shavings be okay to use? I'm out of straw, and it's hard to find too.

    In hindsight, I wish I would have had them build the top of the run on a slant so snow would more easily slide off .. shucks!
     
  4. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, shavings would work. You could also use garden stalks that have died, and any other plant matter. The chickens love to scratch around in it and get the bugs that crawl in the piles, and it makes great compost.
     
  5. Eagleeyeice

    Eagleeyeice Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm also in Wisconsin, Sauk county and here is how I got mine ready for winter/snow. First year for me.
    I still may put the plastic on the top, leaving 6" at the very top open.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I have an aluminum roof on the run sloping south.
    You can buy this plastic that has nylon cording running through it at a hardware store for .99 per ft.
    Where abouts in wi are you?
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
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    My Coop
    Hot water plate?? Just to keep the water liquid?

    What ever you do for a run roof, make sure it will handle the snow load or have a good plan in place to keep the snow cleared off of it.

    My run is 2x4 welded wire, walls and roof, most the snow went right thru it all winter until we got one last wet snow preceded by freezing rain, it all clung to the wire and darn near collapsed it. Luckily I was able to bang it off from underneath before it failed. Was not so lucky with my metal shed roof that had gathered snow all winter and collapsed.

    I shoveled part of the run all winter, to keep the run door and outside of pop door accessible to me and to give them some room to be outside. Part of my run in under the coop and protected, along with the pop door and ramp, by the 'glass foyer' from the prevailing winds. Most of them don't like to walk on the snow so I would spread some straw on the snow to get them to roam a bit farther.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. sherrysusan

    sherrysusan Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2014
    Thank you - this helps a lot! Going to Menards tomorrow to pick up some plywood to put on the top of the run, will put a sheet of plastic underneath it that will also cover the northwest side where all the snow & wind come from. I will keep the top shoveled off and keep the door to the run shoveled out too. Also going to put down a bag of shavings for them to scratch in

    Thanks again, really appreciate the feedback :)
     

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